8 Best Life Jackets for French Bulldogs and Other Brachycephalic Dogs

Let’s face it, some dog breeds just aren’t made for swimming! Unfortunately for French Bulldogs and other flat-faced (brachycephalic) breeds, swimming is notoriously difficult and in most cases, life-threatening. Fear not though, life jackets for French Bulldogs do exist and they’re absolutely essential if your Frenchie is going to be around water.

In today’s post we’ll be taking a look at some of the reasons why swimming is so difficult for these types of breeds as well our top picks for life jackets for French Bulldogs and other brachycephalic dogs.

Photo by Karsten Winegeart via Unsplash

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First off, what is a Brachycephalic dog?

Put very simply, brachycephalic dogs are breeds with flat or ‘smushed’ faces. Their muzzles/snouts are extremely short in comparison to the width of their skull.  

Common examples include French Bulldogs, Pugs, English Bulldogs, Pekingese and Boxers.

Breed traits that make swimming difficult (and hazardous!) for Frenchies and other Brachycephalic dogs:

  • Flat face (short muzzle) –  these dogs must tilt their heads upwards to keep their nose/mouth above water. This causes their back-ends to point down which causes them to sink. Team this with existing breathing difficulties and you have a recipe for disaster!
  • Disproportionately large or heavy heads (i.e. Bulldogs) – this leads the dog to tilt forwards (when they are already struggling to keep their heads above water due to their short muzzles – this is a double-whammy, making it near impossible to stay afloat). 
  • Short legs –  hinder buoyancy and make paddling difficult (i.e. Frenchies and Pugs)
  • Dense muscle mass (stocky dogs) – hinders buoyancy (i.e. Bulldogs, some Staffies)

Features to look for in a life jacket for your French Bulldog:

While ALL dogs should wear a life jacket if they are going to be spending time around water, they are especially important (and potentially life-saving) for Frenchies and other brachycephalic breeds.

Features to look for when deciding on a jacket that is right for your pooch;

  • Snug fit with multiple adjustment points (always take detailed measurements) 
  • Provides maximum buoyancy without impeding freedom of movement
  • A chin/neck float is particularly beneficial for novice or inexperienced swimmers as it helps to keep their chin above water
  • A grab handle for easy rescue in case of emergency
  • Strong, durable contruction with high visibility reflective accents
  • Provides sufficient buoyancy for your dog’s weight (always check weight guides)

8 Best Life Jackets for French Bulldogs and other Brachycephalic breeds:

Life Jackets for French Bulldogs - feat.  Outward Hound Granby Splash Orange Dog Life Jacket, Small

via Amazon

Designed for all-around use, features rescue handle and front float. Suitable for novice to experienced swimmers.

Life Jackets for French Bulldogs - feat.  Ruffwear, Float Coat Dog Life Jacket, Swimming Safety Vest with Handle, Blue Dusk, Medium

via Amazon

Flexible, comfortable GAIA foam moves with your dog as they swim, suitable for water sport adventures and more.

Life Jackets for French Bulldogs - feat.  Outward Hound Dawson Swim Red Dog Life Jacket, Small

via Amazon

Designed with novice swimmers in mind, suitable for water sport adventures, includes front neck float .

Life Jackets for French Bulldogs - feat.  EzyDog Premium Doggy Flotation Device (DFD) - Adjustable Dog Life Jacket Preserver with Reflective Trim - Durable Grab Handle for Safety and Protection - 50% More Flotation Material (X-Large, Red)

via Amazon

Snug fit with max. buoyancy, allows freedom of movement while keeping dogs upright in water at all times.

Life Jackets for French Bulldogs - feat.  ZippyPaws Adventure Dog Lifejacket, Swimming Vest for Dogs & Puppies, Life Jacket for Swim Training Small Medium & Large Dogs - Red, Medium

via Amazon

Designed for all-around use.  Features high visibility reflective stripes and ergonomic padded grab handle + front float flap.

Life Jackets for French Bulldogs - feat.  Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket - Keep Your Canine Safe with a Nylon Life Vest - From XX-Small to X-Large Designer Life Jackets - Perfect for Swimming and Boating - Neon Yellow, X-Small

via Amazon

Features high visibility reflective stripes., quick-dry fabric and lightweight design. 8 colors/designs to choose from. 

Life Jackets for French Bulldogs - feat.  Kurgo Surf n’ Turf Dog Life Jacket - Flotation Life Vest for Swimming and Boating - Dog Lifejacket with Rescue Handle and Reflective Accents - Machine Washable - Blue/Green, Extra Small

via Amazon

High visibility with reflective piping, features 2 sturdy transverse handles + removable flotation layer for easy cleaning.

via Chewy

Features front panel flotation flap, rescue handle, 3 adjustable straps + high visibility reflective piping. 

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8 Best Life Jackets for French Bulldogs and Other Brachycephalic Dog Breeds
8 Best Life Jackets for French Bulldogs and Other Brachycephalic Dog Breeds